Sleep Training Part I

Sleep TrainingP I N____________________save this for later

Oh my! I never thought I would blog about this, because I’ve done a lot of things I “wasn’t supposed to do”. But when you are lacking sleep, you will do just about anything to climb back into your bed. Sleep training or not sleep training is such a hard decision and I want to start by first saying that whatever you decide is your decision. There are not any “right” or “wrongs” for sleep training. For us, sleep training was a lot of trial and error.

People ask me all the time how we got Kaden to be such a great sleeper, especially those beloved babysitters. They were constantly amazed at how easy It was to say “Goodnight, Kaden” and walk out the door. Now since we have switched him into his big boy room, we hit a few roadblocks but I will talk about that in a later post. Anyways, since I get asked a lot, I thought I would share the answer with you. Again, I am not sharing this to say you should also do what I did. I am sharing so you know what we did in case you want to try It.

Every kid is so different and if you decide to sleep train, you need to make sure it is what you and everyone in your household wants.

Sleep Training Kaden

When Kaden was a newborn I started reading Babywise and I LOVED It! There was so much information not all related to sleep. It showed you how to breastfeed, how to interact with your baby, how to help them sleep and even how to create a loving environment at home! This book felt like the closest thing to a manual when I left the hospital! It just boggled my mind that the hospital sent you home with a baby with no proof that you even know how to take care of him or her. It can be overwhelming, and this book really helped me!

Why I Loved Babywise

The biggest take away from Babywise was that I could feed Kaden, play with him and then put him to sleep. This helped him realize that he didn’t need food to be comforted or in order to fall asleep. The book also helped to create the sweet, independent sleeper we love so much. I truly believe that. He got in a circadian rhythm and he knew exactly what to expect. After I eat, I play; after I play, I sleep; after I sleep, I eat. It was wonderful.

Why Babywise Wasn’t Everything

Babywise had so many schedules and while they were a wonderful goal, Kaden didn’t understand that I wanted him to sleep until 12:00 on the dot. And, It began to frustrate me. Why is he taking short naps? How can I fix this. And, I didn’t feel like It told me how to fix It. I just knew what he was supposed to do but not how to keep him from pooping in the middle of his nap and waking himself up. When I finally learned that he was not a clock actually accepted It, I began to enjoyed the times he was up and the times he was napping. Babywise didn’t leave me a lot of flexibility to leave the house. The rigid schedule was too much for me, so I just decided he didn’t need to have the schedule, just keep up our routine of the eat, play sleep and he would know what is next. This worked for us until he was out of the infant stage and we were still feeding him 3-4 times a night.

Precious Little Sleep

Aaron and I got to the 4 or 5 month mark with Kaden and we were barely hanging on. We were both working. My sweet husband was giving one feeding during the night and I was doing the rest. We were struggling. We were not our best versions of ourselves and easily frustrated. I had read so many things, so Aaron took a turn and read Precious Little Sleep. The one thing this author warns is to make sure you are both ready. She says this will not work if both of you aren’t on board. So, we decided to try It. We tried and failed because I had such a hard time letting Kaden cry, but when I realize we had tried the gentler approach and It just wouldn’t work… we started over.

Kaden cried about an hour the first night and the second night only about twenty minutes. From then on, we did our bedtime routine of books, oils, jammies, prayers and lullaby. We would lay him down and say “Goodnight, Kaden. See you in the morning” at bedtime and “Goodnight, Kaden. See you in a little bit.” for naps and he would roll over and go to sleep. This was a game changer for us! And, this worked for Kaden. He began to love sleep and he was great at It! Don’t we all usually love things we are good at?

Sleep Training Cole

After Kaden, I found a book called Bringing Up Bebe! I decided to read It before Cole arrived. I thought it would have some new insight for me.

Bringing Up Bebe

Bringing Up Bebe was not so much a parenting book, but a compare and contrast of French parenting verses American parenting. I learned a few things from this book that we still practice and love. I learned that kids don’t actually need to snack all the time. If they wait for meals throughout the day, they will eat their meals. This has helped make Kaden a great eater as a toddler. He eats Breakfast, Lunch, Late Snack and Dinner. And, at the late snack he can have a treat! I also was reminded that it’s ok to expect things from our kids. They are capable of more than we give them credit for. For example, they can sit at the table until everyone is finished. They just have to practice.

The best thing I learned from this book was delayed gratification. It’s ok to let your toddler pick out a toy at the store and tell them they have to wait to play with It. Or, they can get a treat and wait to have It at their late snack time. When It came to infants, the French babies were sleeping through the night by 4 months because of something they call “le Pause” which is basically waiting to tend to their fussy child. I am the worst at this. I always rush in or try to help them right away, but this book showed me It is ok for me to let them try to figure something out on their own first before I help them.

I will say, because I read this book, I thought that I would also have a baby that slept through the night at four months but that was not the case with Cole.

Co-Sleeping

I said I would never bring my baby into my bed and I did this like twice with Kaden, but I started doing this almost every night with Cole because he would sleep so well and I could also sleep. Before we knew It, Aaron and I were co-sleeping. It worked well for a few months and I loved that time, but around the end of month four we decided no more. We needed sleep. And, co-sleeping was no longer allowing Cole to get his best rest either. So we began looking elsewhere.

Taking Cara Babies

So many people told me about Taking Care of Babies and I tried her acronym for infant sleep at the very beginning, but It didn’t work well for us so we gave up. But, at month four I revisited It because so many people encouraged me to try her ABC’s of sleep. So, now we are on day five of weaning nighttime feedings and teaching Cole to sleep through the night in his own bed. It is going well, but as I’m writing this post I can hear the beep in the kitchen letting me know my caffeine is reheated and I’m very excited to drink It. The last four days have been hard, but we have seen so much progress and we have gone from 4-5 nighttime feedings to 2. And, he has repeatedly put himself to sleep! So, that in itself is a huge win! I love that there are charts and it’s very cut and dry what you are supposed to do. This is so helpful for me and takes out all of the guesswork. She encourages you to stick with the program for 14 days, so after the end of the 14 days I’ll give you an update!

Best Wishes

Thanks for joining me on our sleep training journey! I hope you know that whatever you decide to do, you are raising your kids! And, you know them best! So make the decision that is best for your family. It has a been a lot of trial and error, but we have one amazing sleeper and I’m hopeful to have another really soon!

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